Major talking points from Argentina’s win over France

Major talking points from Argentina's win over France

The highly anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup final between South American football juggernauts Argentina and European football superpowers France has come and gone, but not before leaving behind some noteworthy moments from the legendary match in the iconic Lusail Stadium, Qatar.

The tactical genius of Didier Deschamps

Staring at a looming defeat early on in the game, France coach, Didier Deschamps tweaked his game plan to effect some tactical changes even before half time.

Withdrawing the experienced Olivier Giroud and speedy winger Ousmane Dembele, neither of whom had offered much-attacking threat, he introduced the younger, less predictable forwards Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani in the 41st minute, before Eduardo Camavinga and Kingsley Coman entered the fray in the 71st.

“(For the first two changes) I could not wait until halftime. Ousmane and Olivier took us to the final but they were not as good today. When things don’t work, you have to shake things up,” said Deschamps. “In the end, I’m very sad for my players, my staff.”

Lack of aggression from France

It was odd that the former champions looked out of place in the opening minutes of the game. Prior to the game, it was reported that France was hit by a virus.

That appeared to affect them as they lacked their usual aggression in the first half.

“We did not have the energy we had in our previous games but I was not worried with any player who started the game tonight,” Deschamps said. “We were against a team who played a World Cup final while I had the feeling it was not our case.”

A hat-trick for Mbappe

PSG star, Kylian Mbappe had the hopes of whole nation on his young shoulders and he didn’t disappoint. For long spells, he was thwarted by the tactical excellence of Lionel Scaloni during the first half.

Every time the 23-year-old attacker got the ball, he was smothered by the Argentines.

But he forced France back into the match when it seemed as though South America would win the World Cup.

Mbappe converted his first penalty to make it 2-2 after first cutting the deficit in half.

He then maintained his composure to strike another spot-kick and force the match to penalties as France appeared to be dead and buried once more in extra time.

France and Hugo Lloris’s poor penalty record continue

This is an unwanted record but it seems it will continue to be in the books as France have now lost two World Cup finals through penalty shoot-outs, against Italy in 2006, and 2022 against Argentina.

Hugo Lloris, France’s captain and goalie, has also failed to win any of the penalty shootouts he has faced in major competitions while in goal.

He actually faced nine penalties, but he was unable to save any of them.

Hugo Lloris failed to save any of the five penalties he faced in the Euro 2020 penalty shootout, and he also failed to save any of the four he faced on Sunday.

Lionel Messi finally gets his hands on the most coveted trophy

When it seemed he will be ending his international career without the World Cup, Messi gave his heart to see that didn’t happen. He succeeded.

This trophy is the only piece of silverware that has been missing from cabinet for years. He has won every other trophy from club to country even at the under-age tournaments.

Lionel Messi won the title by playing key roles, scoring two goals during the 120 minutes an action-packed game and also scoring his penalty during the shootout.

Since the award was officially introduced in 1982, Lionel Messi is the only player to win the Golden Ball twice at the World Cup (2014, 2022).

He joined Diego Maradona as the only two players to have both scored 5+ goals and created 20+ chances in a FIFA WorldCup tournament (since 1966).

Scaloni proved a big point

There were doubts about him being able to lead Argentina to glory after losing the first game to Saudi Arabia. He picked up from there and he wasn’t looking back again.

The final game gives credence to his tactical ability as he matched his opponent.

It was a brave move on his part to play Angel Di Maria and suffocate the midfield. He placed runners in the centre of the group, obstructing France’s passing lanes and restricting Griezmann’s movement.

But in the 64th minute, Scaloni substituted Marcos Acuna for the 34-year-old former Manchester United player as he moved to a back five.However, it turned out to be a costly error as France increased the pressure and scored again.

But when Argentina went on to win a nerve-wracking shootout, that one tactical error was quickly forgotten.

Lionel Scaloni is the third manager in history to win both the World Cup (2022) and Copa América (2021), after Mário Zagallo (1970 World Cup, 1997 Copa América) and Carlos Alberto Parreira (1994 World Cup, 2004 Copa América), both of whom did so with Brazil.

Goalkeeping heroics from Emiliano Martinez

A goalkeeper is the point of defence as his performance can either mar or make his team and in this case, Martinez saved his team throughout the tournament and it is not a surprise he won the Golden Glove for the World Cup’s best goalkeeper.

He made two crucial point-blank stops to help Argentina advance to the shootout.

One of the best stops from the World Cup will always be his stoppage of Randal Kolo Muani’s shot in the final 123 minutes.

Argentina won 4-2 thanks to his heroics during the shootout, which included stopping Kingsley Coman and making Aurelien Tchouameni miss.

He also saved Argentina in the shootout victory over the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.